Council appoints design champion to help shape future developments

Chris King

Chris King has been appointed East Suffolk Council's new innovative planning role. - Credit: East Suffolk Council

A district council's planning team have created a new role to ensure it is at the forefront of new developments.

Believed to be one of the first local authorities in the country to do so, East Suffolk Council has recently appointed a design champion to join its planning team.

The new role will aim to ensure high quality design is considered when determining planning applications, as well as when creating future planning policies and in the Council’s wider place shaping projects and its own developments.  

Chris King, an urban designer and landscape architect, has been appointed to the role.

Mr King is experienced at promoting design quality in place making around the UK and will provide expert design advice, as well as advocating for high quality design. 

The design champion role heads up the planning team’s newly created Specialist Services Team, which comprises highly skilled landscape, heritage, design, and ecology experts.  

Councillor David Ritchie, cabinet member for planning and coastal management said: “Good design is important to communities and well-designed spaces have a positive impact on people’s lives.

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"Good design is also about supporting people to live healthy active lifestyles and ensuring buildings are environmentally sustainable.

"The appointment of a design champion will enable us to embed excellent design into all future developments across the district. 

“Achieving excellent design is an essential part of ambitious developments detailed within the council’s two local plans, which will see the creation of new garden villages and neighbourhoods, along with a variety of other high-quality developments which we hope will become successful and sought-after new places and communities, bringing the best of place shaping to East Suffolk."

The creation of the design champion role also aligns closely with the national planning agenda, with recent and anticipated future changes to national planning policy placing an increased emphasis on achieving high quality design in new development.